If I posted, or even paid attention to every altercation that happens with an over aggressive car driver, this blog would be worse than reading weenie cyclists' power files. However, today was really really special.
Pittsburghers might be familiar with the area. 40th and Liberty. I am headed inbound, down the hill. There is no bike lane here, the bike lane starts on the other side of 40th st. I do this just about everyday and have a routine that I use. I ride just to the right of the white line that divides the straight and right turning lanes. This way, cars can pass me going straight, but the ones slowing to turn right just sit behind me. Usually about 10 feet before the right turn, I move over a position and go straight. If I were to ride the white line, I am sure that cars would pass me on both sides, which is deadly. If I rode to the left, I would slow down the faster moving traffic, and probably be seen as an jerk, because the lanes leading into this intersection are like a 1/4 mile long and it would really be seen as a nuisance. I have never had trouble until today.
Guy passes me really closely just on the other side of 40th street and mouths off to me. I raised my left hand like "whats your deal." A visible shoulder shrug if you will.
He pulls over and jumps out of his car. Amazing. I dont remember all that was said, but I was holding a bag in my right hand, wearing spandex and look cleats, so I didnt exactly look ready to brawl. He ran at me and I put my bike between us. A few choice words were..
"You almost ran into my car" (apparently this was the action that prompted his rage)
"Ill bitch slap you skip"
"I will beat your fucking ass"
"Do you want my driver's license number too? Ill give it to you and still bitch slap you" (this was in response to me just stating his license plate number)
He went on and on and got in my face. We stood belly to belly and I didnt back down at all to him. Usually I wouldnt have been aggressive at all, and I would have avoided any confrontation, but the dude seriously jumped out of his car and ran at me. If I had turned around and started riding the other way, I think that he could have caught me and maybe would have knocked me down.
We stood belly to belly and he was spat on me, told me that he would beat my ass and break my glasses and persistently called me skip. I did get smart with him and say "skip?... really? skip?"
The whole time I was just happy to have the bag in my hand. I had just stopped by the bike shop on my way home from my ride. In my right hand, I had a Sram Force crankset with chainrings. It wasnt in a box or anything, just a bag. I was holding the right crankarm. I dont think that they could have found a better weapon on the set of The Warriors. I was wondering at what point, or if at all I had it in me to ruin this guy's life? I didnt call the guy on, or tell him that I wanted to fight him. I just said "you are really going to fight me right here for swerving in front of you on a bicycle?" To which he said "yes."
I feel bad for the guy. The rage he had was so intense. I have no idea what is going on in his life, but it only would have gotten worse if he had hit me. I maybe should have shown him what was in the bag before he parted ways. Then again, maybe he had a gun.